No not a distress signal. A call to arms dedicated to celebrating the working class, and all they have contributed to the foundations of our society. It is one day of the year we can devote to thanking call center agents who are working at an otherwise thankless job.
Call center employees deal with various health, social, and personal issues unique to the industry, and though they are highly important and visible members of a company’s culture, they are not always treated as well as they should be.
Gartner Analysts respond to some of these challenges by saying: “Customer support is reactive (i.e., it responds to customer requests or problems), as well as proactive (it anticipates the information
customers need to make informed decisions and keep products and services performing to their expectations).”
The First Line of Defense
When a customer phones into a call center for help, they often find themselves reaching an automated menu first. Lengthy, unavoidable introductions and too many menu options can frustrate a customer before they have even reached a representative. This is bound to make for an unpleasant exchange for the call center agent, though it is through no fault of their own.
Pegasystems, a publicly traded American software provider has rolled out their own Customer Service solution that both aides customer and gives their employees the tools to do their jobs better: “Deployable on premise or in the cloud, the latest release of the customer service offering from Pegasystems adds an omni-channel capability that automatically adapts to the device any customer decides to use at any given moment. In addition, Pegasystems has partnered with LiveLOOK to include a screen-sharing capability.”
Cycle of Issues
Another major setback of the job is that many times, a customer’s issue is not resolved after the first time they phone a call center. More than half of inbound queries to a call center are not resolved on the first call, requiring callers to contact the call center a second time. Again, this is a source of frustration not only for users, but for the call center agents on the other end whom may take the brunt of a customer’s unhappiness. Though little education or experience is required to obtain a job at a call center, it can still be a very difficult job to keep. Call center representatives must always remain polite and helpful, regardless of what is being said to them.
Taking Work Home With You
Working at a call center can be demanding, stressful, and even demeaning. It is an incredibly challenging job, as anyone in the industry will tell you. However, there are some great exceptions. Home based call center jobs are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. Working as a call center agent from home greatly reduces the negativity associated with the job. The ability to work your own hours in a quiet, less structured setting can make for much happier, more productive call center workers. Call centers also generally pay a slightly higher wage, and offer some better than average benefits. Paired with the relative ease of obtaining a call center position, and in the right instances, this job can be very desirable for some workers.
Gartner Analysts realize the need to switch traditional call centers to newer forms of customer engagement but see some drawbacks as well: “Over the last decade, organizations have disengaged with customers by moving to lower-cost channels such as websites, portals, interactive voice response (IVR) and other forms of self-service so that over 80% of customer service interactions now no longer involve talking to an employee.”
Can We Get an Amen
Working as a call center agent is a very stressful job, which is why this May Day, and in fact every other day, these employees deserve to be recognized. Working a strict schedule with hours subject to change a moment’s notice, call center workers must always be available to try to meet the needs of consumers. A lot of pressure rides on the abilities of a call center agent, and they risk losing a customer if someone happens to have a significantly bad experience over the phone. This May 1st, let us salute all the call center representatives out there, showing them recognition and understanding of what a difficult job they are sometimes faced with. May Day is the perfect holiday to remember that there are people on the other end of the line, and though customers may feel frustrated about their situation, call center employees always deserve to be treated with respect. Call center representatives are vital in working toward greater company goals. They do an incredible amount of often stressful work, so this May 1st, let us all remember to celebrate the working class and everything they do.